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The Battle for Purity
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8 ESV).
According to recent statistics, there are over 24.5 million web sites dedicated to pornography. A report by Bridges and Wosnitzer in 2007 found that there are 13,000 porn videos produced annually with revenue of $13 billion. In the same year, 507 movies from Hollywood produced $8.8 billion. Another report found that over 25% of all internet searches are for pornographic material. I am certain that what was true in 2007 has not gotten any better today. Marketing advertisers have long used sex and scantily clad women to sell everything from alcohol to weight loss pills. Now, with the advancement of the internet, download speeds, and a decline in moral virtue, pornographic material is highly accessible and in demand.
So, how do we resist this temptation? First, is to acknowledge that you cannot do it by yourself. However, you “can do all things through Christ who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13). Recognize porn for what it is – a favorite weapon of the enemy. Now, recall how Satan tempted Jesus after 40 days of fasting and Jesus defeated him by using Holy Scripture. The power of the Word is great and can be used for many things, including “rebuking” (2 Timothy 3:16). So, rebuke impure thoughts in the name of Jesus. Each thought is the seed for potential action. This is why we are instructed to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If the thought is not taken captive, you have yielded a portion of your heart to the enemy and the thought will lead to action that does not honor God.
The heart is essential to our spiritual health. This is why we are encouraged in Proverbs 4:23 to guard it, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Matthew 5:28 expands upon the concept of the heart. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” I remember years ago when President Carter quoted this scripture and admitted having lust in his heart.
The battle for sexual purity is fought in your heart. All actions, good or bad, begin with thoughts. The thought may have taken root days or even years ago and finally is manifested, often subconsciously, into action. The way you think determines how you feel, and feelings drive our actions. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:22 how to manage our thoughts before they ever head down this path: “Turn your back on the turbulent desires of youth and give your positive attention to goodness, faith, love and peace. ” Scripture encourages us to turn away from impure thoughts, and turn instead toward God. That two-step process is how you break a temptation before it ever gets started.
You’re thinking wrong long before you’re acting wrong. You stop the cycle by turning your back on those sinful thoughts and turning toward goodness, integrity, love, and peace. You’re not an innocent bystander to sexual sin. You have a choice. Choose to live in the Spirit.
Prayer: Dear God, Deliver us from all that is evil. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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